Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Old Queen's Head, 6th March

I think it only fair to warn you that this write-up may be slightly biased because - **SPOILER ALERT** - these words are being written by one of the members of the current reigning victors of the Old Queen's Head pub quiz! I have never won a pub quiz before, so it's understandable that doing so, here, may skew my opinion of the place. 

Having said that, I don't actually think this is too much the case. I think I would have liked the place anyway. We went at the behest of my friend Fiona who has been to this pub quiz several times before, coming joint first the last time, but cruelly having the crown awarded solely to the team that tied with them due to a disqualification in the dancing round. More on this treacherous dance round later.

We got to the pub straight after work, and even at 6:15 on a Tuesday the place had a buzz about it. It also has some 'eccentric' decoration to say the least and I'm always a sucker for what looks like a 'rocking lamb' suspended from the ceiling. The place has a haphazard, rather shambolic appearance to it, which succeeds in making it look comfy and inviting. Lots of mismatched sofas with a LOT of bar stools dotted around. 

We ordered food, most of us opting for some variation on burger and chips. I had the chicken burger. I was asked if I wanted cheese or bacon on it and I said yes to cheese (always yes to cheese) and then discovered cheese was an extra 75p, boosting my burger and chips up from a reasonable £8.50 to an amount I was less happy to hand over. It's amazing how the difference between getting £1.50 back from a tenner and 75p back can make you view value for money. To be fair, I think they do say this on the menu, I just hadn't looked properly.

It was a pretty nice chicken burger though, I thought. My friend Rachel had changed her mind at the last minute and got a hamburger. After getting a glimpse of my chicken burger, proclaiming that she had no food envy, and scoffing all hers, she then decided that, actually, the hamburger was a bit disappointing. Too dry. But no matter. We weren't there for the food, we were there for the drink and the quiz.

I need little encouragement to go to a pub quiz, especially when that pub is one that is on my List. What persuaded my teammates that they should go is that this is a quiz run by no other than Spider from Coronation Street. And he does a pretty good job of this second career of his.

You can tell that the Old Queen's Head considers itself to be a pub for a younger, hipper crowd and so of course the pub quiz has to live up to this ethos. Spider as host (sorry, i don't know his real name) is a good start. He's a pretty entertaining compere. Also, in order for it not to be like any old boring pub quiz, they have bonus rounds halfway through each round where you get the chance to win a prize for yourself and a round of shots for your teammates. This week's bonus rounds included flying some model glider's at Spider's head (we won that), blowing the biggest bubble, attempting to draw something pornographic, and the now infamous dance round. I stupidly volunteered for this round at the beginning of the night. Everyone gets up near Spider and you dance to some music. While blowing a very shoddy kazoo. He sends off the dance floor during/at the end of the song anyone not dancing and kazooing well enough. Then another song is played and the same thing happens until finally the third song is played and there are only three of you dancing. I was in that final three. It is then up to the other teams to decide on the winner. As all of my team will attest, I was robbed! My moves were smooth, and varied, not just jumping and leg kicks like some of my competitors, but I don't think the audience were really paying attention when he asked for their appreciation of my performance and I got barely a clap. Gutted.

We then went back and finished the round and then handed in our answers to Spider for tallying.

I won't bother trying to build any suspense here because I've already given the ending away - we were the champions! We weren't expecting it. We found the questions to be fairly easy, but in our minds, this just meant that everyone else would get them right as well. So it was a genuine surprise when we got to fourth place and our team still hadn't been called out. Then third, then at second we cheered so much in anticipation, the team next to us thought we were the ones who came second. Our prize was a bottle of champers to be redeemed at a time of our choosing. Congratulations once again Tom, Fiona, Claire, Rachel and Jenni! Some of us had to dash off and the rest of us stayed in the still lively pub and did what people do best in pubs - ranted about work. There is also an upstairs where they have gigs and events. There was some sort of hip hop/spoken word/open mic thing going on that night, but we were otherwise engaged with the pub quiz so I wasn't able to see what upstairs is like.

Of course, I'll be going back to get my winnings so might get a peek then. But even if I didn't have such a good reason to return, I would like to go back anyway. It was a fun pub, and they have a few things coming up that I like the sound of. Easter Sunday all-dayer anyone?




Square Meal

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.